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Friday, December 27, 2019

More Christmas?

Happy Friday everyone. I know Christmas is over, but I had a few ornaments that I still wanted to share with you all. The next three photos are ornaments we bought on our three trips to Maui that we took in December each time we went.  We haven’t been able to go to Hawaii for several years now and Dennis really misses it.

Angels and seashells are a common theme. I love angels. Each time I see one it reminds me that God has sent them to watch over us, along with being His messengers throughout the Bible.

Isn’t this one beautiful?

It is our dream to go back again someday.

On Christmas, even though we had already exchanged gifts at Thanksgiving, Mandy had left a couple of packages under the tree for us so we would have something to open on Christmas day. Dennis got some much-needed clothes and this was what I had from Piper.

Aren’t these both just perfect for me?  A sweet little wood block with a beautiful saying on it. Piper picked it out for me and it’s in my favorite colors of purples and lavenders, although it looks more pink in the photo.  I wear these sort of slipper socks around the house all the time. If this saying isn’t perfect for me I don’t know what is!

This was my gift from Dennis.  Another $100 gift card to Hobby Lobby. He did this last year and I absolutely loved it. The only rule is that I cannot use it to buy anything for anyone else. Since I buy so much yarn to make things to give away, I always feel guilty buying anything for myself. Last year I made that gift card last until October when we were in Omaha. Then I broke the rule when I used the very last of it to buy Piper an outfit for her baby doll. I was so excited when I realized he had gotten me another gift card. It’s a gift that keeps giving to me all year long. It’s amazing how picky I get about what I buy when I’m using this card.  

Goodness I feel spoiled. 

It snowed again last night. Not a lot, but enough to make the roads slick. I had planned to go to Trader Joe’s and JoAnns.  Yesterday I received an email that all of their yarn is on sale. Now I think I’ll just stay cozy inside the house instead. 

Goodness knows I need to be knitting on this...

I should have been done with it by now. I have ripped the right front out three separate times. The directions just say to make it a mirror image of the left side and somehow my brain could not comprehend that. Even though I’ve made this sweater before. Several times.  I honestly don’t know what was wrong with me. Sometimes I worry that I’m losing it.

A close-up of the smocking on the top of the sweater. This is what is so time-consuming.

I finally was able to start a sleeve last night. Now all I have to do is finish the sleeve, knit the second one and do the button band before sewing it all together. And make an identical sweater by next Tuesday.  Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m going to give it a good try!

I received a few beautiful gifts in the mail from you, my blog friends.  This first one is from dear sweet Gracie who lives in Oregon.  Isn’t this ingenious? It’s a towel holder! You put it over the handle on your stove or refrigerator and loop a towel through the openings. I think this is beautiful. Thank you Gracie!  You can find Gracie at “One Saylors Log” over on my side bar.

This very imaginative gift is from Kathy in Wisconsin. It is self-explanatory when you read the card. Isn’t this a great idea? Thank you so much Kathy.  I’m going to plant these in a pot at the lake and think of you every time I see it. Kathy has a blog called ”Compassionknit”and you can find the link on my side bar.

And just look at this treasure trove! A bag, buttons and yarn from my dear friend Lorraine who lives on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.  She made the beautiful bag and sewed the buttons on the individual cards. I wish you could smell this wool.  I’m sure it’s from one of the sheep who live outside of their cottage on the island.  She is ”Mama’s Mercantile” over on my side bar if you would like to check out her blog.

On Christmas afternoon we went to see Mr. Rogers at the movie theater along with Neal and Jenny. We have never gone to the movies on Christmas before and I was amazed at how busy it was. There are 20 theaters in this complex and we were told they were all sold out for the showings while we were there. I just could never imagine that many people go to the movies on Christmas. I don’t know that we will do that again.  It just didn’t seem right. Although the movie was very good. 
This is a photo of the Christmas tree at the mall as we were riding up the escalator to the theaters. The tree is three stories high and absolutely gorgeous although the color doesn’t show up very well in this photo.  I guess you can get a bit of the perspective when you see the people standing down below.

And here’s one last photo of our tree that I took on Christmas Eve.  Oh, the memories that this tree holds. I look at the ornaments that the kids made when they were small and ornaments that have been given to us by friends and that we have collected over 41 years of marriage.  It’s probably not as beautiful to most people as the perfectly decorated ones that you see, but it means more to me than one of those trees ever could.

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday week and that you had time with family and friends.  Now, I’m heading out to shovel snow yet again. It’s that wonderful time of the year!

“Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas


Dennis and I both wish you a very Merry Christmas!  We woke up to another unpredicted snowfall so we have a white Christmas after all!

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those one who his favor rests.” Luke to 10-14

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, December 23, 2019

It’s Almost Here!

The weeks, and especially the days leading up to Christmas are always so exciting for me. Although it has changed over the years, from the excitement I felt as a small child, to the joy of watching our own children, to the quieter joy now deep in my heart as I anticipate the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child.  I know that not all celebrate Christmas for this reason, but really, that is the true reason for the Christmas season.  And so, my heart is filled with joy at the thought of the Creator of the universe, the Lord himself, to being a humble baby born in a stable and He did it all for you and for me.

Our children’s Christmas program was yesterday and it was beautiful and sweet as they always are.

Last night Dennis and I drove around for about an hour and looked at Christmas lights. Apparently the man at this house constructs an entirely new display every year. It was a sight to behold!  This picture shows his garage doors and an angel above them.

This is the entire house. The picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice. The entire neighborhood was lit up by this one house!
I finished another pair of socks. These are made with Patons Kroy Socks yarn in the Blue Striped Rag colorway.  I think they are actually the most perfect color match I’ve ever done.  It took some work splicing the yarn in spots to get the stripes even. I used one of my favorite patterns, the Hermione pattern which is free on (Ravelry).

I finished the 24th nine-patch square for my cozy memories blanket.  Whew!  These are a lot of work using size 2 needles!  I’m not sure how many more squares I will make. When I get time, I will lay them out and see if it’s big enough before I join the squares together. I also made another hat for the ladies at the retirement home.

Saturday I began a sweater for one of Dennis‘s sisters granddaughters. Karen has asked me to make each of them a long sleeved white sweater and also a short-sleeved pink one for Aria and a short sleeve purple sweater for Maddie.  Tiny needles and baby weight yarn makes it a time-consuming project. What you see in this first picture below is about 22 hours of knitting time!

A few hours before I went to bed last night, I started the smocking on the upper back.

Karen has been very sick for a couple of years now and the doctors couldn’t seem to find what the problem was. She has just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer that has spread to her bones and possibly other organs. May I ask that you pray for her and the rest of the family?  This has been a difficult year for the family. Mom has lost both a brother and a sister in recent months and several of Dennis’s cousins have passed away this year. Her daughter being diagnosed with cancer is very hard for Mom, as it is for all of us. Dennis is flying back to Omaha on New Year’s Eve and will spend several days with the family. He has to be back here that weekend because he’s having an endoscopy on Monday, January 6.  This news is devastating to all of us. Karen is the baby of the family and is four years younger than me.

I’m sorry to end this post on a sad note, but many of you have become like family to me and life isn’t always full of happiness and cheer is it? I know that just as I have prayed for many of you in the past, you will be thinking of our family now. That’s what friendship is all about isn’t it? We’re here to help support each other whenever we need it.

I am wishing for each of you a wonderful and joyous Christmas.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”  Luke 2:8-11

Blessings and love,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Last night Dennis and I decided to have a date night. I picked him up after work and we drove about 20 minutes to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We had dinner at the Cracker Barrel there. Woo hoo! I know, big spenders aren’t we? But we do love the Cracker Barrel. After a wonderful dinner and some browsing in their little country store, we drove to the Coeur d’Alene resort and took a walk on the floating boardwalk.  It was really cold and the wind was blowing, so the boardwalk we were on was moving in the water. Hence the blurry photos. But at least you get the idea.

The Resort itself was all lit up with a sign that said 2019.

Now these next few are really blurry and I apologize for that. First was the nativity scene on the top of some of the boat shelters. You can see the reflection in the water underneath.

Then there were lots of toys soldiers and other things from the nutcracker, also reflected in the water.

Of course Santa and his sleigh were there.  There were a LOT of other decorations, but I just gave up trying to get pictures because they were so blurry.
This one was of four party boats. These boats take groups of people out to an island in the middle of the lake where Santa is waiting with his elves.  He reads off the names of the children that are on the boat and tells them he has their list. They serve hot chocolate and cookies on the boats and it’s a highlight for many children in our area each Christmas

This one was taken while standing on dry ground so it’s much less blurry. Doesn’t that look elegant?  There is something about pure white lights that I just love.
Inside the resort itself are some beautifully decorated trees.

I think this one was my favorite. We sat by the fire in the lobby and warmed up for a little while before venturing back out and heading home.

We did make one last stop at the last exit before leaving Idaho and going back into Washington. We filled our tank with gas!  It is $.34 a gallon cheaper in Idaho than in Washington. Our taxes are so high! Whenever we go to Idaho we make sure to top off our tanks. 

The next photo is to me, one of our most precious decorations.  I hand painted this nativity scene for the first Christmas Dennis and I were married in 1978. It has been through raising our children and and an in-home daycare that I had for years, along with many pets. Nothing has ever been broken and I think that is a miracle in itself. Especially having had several cats in the house!  Each year when I set this nativity scene up, it reminds me of why we’re actually celebrating Christmas and it calms my spirit.  Someday this will go to Mandy and I know she will treasure it just like I do.

One more week from today and we celebrate Christmas! I hope you are able to slow down and take some deep breath’s and enjoy the season.

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14

Blessings,
Betsy



Monday, December 16, 2019

Some finishes and some snow

Happy Monday! I’ve been hanging out at home quite a bit. The weather has been cool and damp with rain, then snow, then rain, then snow!

I was able to make a few pair of mittens and I’m on track for my weekly schedule so far. Thursday I received a phone call from a first grade teacher who goes to our church.  She used to teach in the school that I donate all of the mittens to. In fact, she was the one who let me know of the dire need of the students. Well, she’s reading a book to her students today about red mittens and she asked if I happened to have a pair she could borrow. It was hilarious because I had just knitted a pair of adult sized red mittens and mailed them off that morning to Piper for her teacher. She had called a few nights before and asked me to make her teacher some red mittens because her hands were cold. :-) Well, what’s a grandma to do? Of course I made them the very next day. Unfortunately I mailed the mittens without taking a photo of them for you. Just imagine the red mittens in the picture below much, much bigger for a grown-up!  I dug through the mittens I’ve made for next year and would you believe I didn’t have one pair of red ones made? So I made a pair and delivered them to Lindsay yesterday at church.  That pair is included in the photos below along with five more pair. I think I need to make sure I always have a pair of red mittens in my bag!



I have made four more hats for the retirement centers knitting group that I will deliver on Wednesday.

I finished another nine patch square for my cozy memories blanket.  I also put a few rows on a pair of socks but forgot to take a photo for you.

We woke up to some completely unpredicted snow yesterday morning which made an interesting drive to church. When I checked my weather app it showed a 0% chance of precipitation and at that point we had about 3 inches in our driveway and it was still coming down!  So much for the experts! Ha!

A few years ago Dennis bought me this sweet little camper that sits on the table under our television. I’ve had it for a few years now and I love it. It gives me hope that summer will return and so will lake time.

This was a dollar store find for me this year. I do miss our trailer in the wintertime.

When Mandy moved out to her first place of her own we gave her the family tree skirt that she had always loved. I had made it years before using the candlewick embroidery stitch.  I crocheted a new one and I just love it.  I can throw it into the washer and dryer after Christmas and it’s like brand new.

We went to Dennis’ company Christmas party Saturday night. Afterwards we walked across the street to “The Grand Hotel” and tried taking a selfie in front of one of the Christmas trees in the lobby. Obviously we are not selfie people! Ha!  It was fun to get dressed up and see the beautiful lights downtown. But boy, oh boy, it was cold and we had to walk almost 8 blocks to where we parked the car. Brrr!

Mandy sent me this picture of her wearing a scarf to work this morning that I had knitted for her several years ago. It’s the “Pimpleisse” pattern that I got free on Ravelry along time ago.  Now, I may be a bit biased, but I think she is absolutely gorgeous.

I hope you are all doing well even in the hustle and bustle that is December. I know many of you are dealing with difficult situations right now and I am keeping you all in my prayers. I’m wishing for all of you time to slow down and remember the reason we’re celebrating this holiday season.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Blessings,
Betsy

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December Sunshine

We are having a beautiful sunshiny day today and I’m trying to enjoy every second of it because rain is supposed to come back tomorrow and then snow showers for the foreseeable forecast. I do know that that is the norm for December and I’m trying to embrace it. But you all know how I feel about snow!  :-)

I received a beautiful beaded Christmas tree ornament in the mail from Dee (Little Stone Schoolhouse) on my sidebar.  Isn’t it lovely?  Thank you so much Dee.  It’s hanging on the tree where I can see it often.

I’m currently working on a nine patch square. I think I have nineteen squares done and I’m now knitting the border on this one.  They are quite time consuming and it’s all I have worked on since I last posted.

I thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas decorations and ornaments with you and why they are important to me.

Many of you have seen these decorations before as I talk about them often because they mean so much to me.

First of all is the ornament I got when I was five years old from my Sunday school teacher. It always gets pride of place on the tree.  It’s been on the tree for 54 years now!

The star is from the very first Christmas tree after Dennis was born. His Mom gave it to us when we first got married for our tree, so that makes 63 years for the star!  I cherish it.

This nativity in a jar is from Teresa, (Teresa Kasner) on my side bar, she made it for me several years ago and I love it.  I received the card this week from Sharon who is (calligraphy cards-Shaz in Oz) on my side bar. She makes all of her own cards and does an amazing job. Isn’t it beautiful?

I have a few more I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of weeks. 

Alex’s flight yesterday morning was canceled, he never did find out why they kept delaying it and delaying it and finally just canceled it altogether with the result that he was left for an extra day in Omaha. Tara‘s flight did take-off for New York City and she was already at work in the afternoon when she sent me a message. The airline paid for a very nice hotel room for Alex.  He took an Uber to Grandma’s and spent the afternoon and evening with her. He said it actually was a wonderful gift and he’s glad it happened, although he had to do quite a bit of juggling on his schedule because he was scheduled for meetings in Tokyo today.  They really enjoyed their time together.  As I write this, he is about halfway across the Pacific Ocean. 

The kids have all been gone for a week and I thought I was prepared for them to be so far away again. But as I type this, tears are falling again. I know. I sound like a whiner. Goodness, I do miss our kids.  I think having had such a wonderful time Thanksgiving week makes me realize how much I miss those days of being together. I know life changes and the days move on and for heavens sake, we’ve been empty-nesters for 12 years now! You would really think I would be used to this. Goodbyes never get any easier though do they?  I am so proud of all of our kids and I wouldn’t expect them to change their lives and I hope I never feel make them feel bad for the choices they’ve made. But, I would rather have the tears when they leave than to not care at all. Don’t you think so too?  I think it’s a normal mom thing. At least that’s what I tell myself! Ha!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday and enjoying the preparations for Christmas without having too much stress. I’m enjoying watching a lot of YouTube knitters/crocheters as they do what is called Vlogmas. Short daily videos of their Christmas preparations.  Lots of fun.

I will leave you with a photo of Alex and Tara at the Grand Canyon at sunrise last Wednesday. Aren’t those colors beautiful?  He sent me a photo this morning when he flew back over the Grand Canyon on his way to Los Angeles. The two different perspectives are amazing.

From his flight this morning.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.”  Galatians 6:10a

Blessings,
Betsy

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Quiet

My goodness our house is quiet.  We have spent most of the weekend just laying low at home. Dennis came down with the cold everyone seems to have on Thursday night so he’s been trying to get over it before starting the work week again.  Although he does sound a bit better, you can still tell he’s sick when he talks. It’s definitely a head cold at this point.

I did make 6 more pair of mittens this weekend.  They have been put into the bag for next fall. So far I’m staying on track with my two pair a week and I’m even a couple of weeks ahead!

This blanket was finished while the kids were all here, but I never took a picture to show you.  I used a Caron Big Cake of yarn plus a little extra out of a second ball. The blanket is about 37 inches square and I used the Every Which Way Filet pattern.

I also finished one hat for the ladies at the retirement homes hat project and started another.

This afternoon I started another square for my cozy memories nine patch quilt.

I apologize for these dark photos but it’s been cloudy here for days.

I received some happy mail this past week. Teresa (Teresa Kasner on my side bar), sent me this sweet little lamb. It’s from a little shop in Vermont. Isn’t it just the cutest?  I love the floppy ears. He is happily hanging on our tree. Thank you so much Teresa. It was so sweet of you to think of me.

I also won one of Connie (Far Side of Fifty on my side bar), and her husband’s coveted yearly Christmas tree ornaments. They are hand carved and hand painted. I am so lucky to have been chosen to receive one of these ornaments this year. Just look at the detailing on this sweet little ornament. She also sent me a handmade scrubby. I love it!

She hand painted my name and the year on the back of the ornament and initialed it.

Look at this sweet little bear and candy cane they made to put inside the stocking. Behind the bear is a little red bead. Thank you so much Connie. It’s  hanging on my tree along with Teresa‘s sheep where I can admire them both every time I look up at the tree.

I am incredibly blessed to have blog friends like all of you. I don’t take your friendships for granted and I’m so grateful that you come and visit me whenever I post.

I’ll leave you with one more photo from our family get together. My favorite ones were pictures where everyone was goofing around and didn’t realize Jenny was actually snapping photos.

I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week.

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”  First Chronicles 16:11

Blessings,
Betsy